Retirement Kuel Category Expert & Author: Becky Kueker
I woke up this morning in a good mood. The sun was out, a slight warm breeze was blowing, and hummingbirds were already chasing each other around the feeders.
“It’s going to be a great day.” I thought.
With this quarantine stuff good days are not guaranteed. So many things creep into our daily lives that we are not prepared for, like the constant drone of the politicians on each and every TV channel, and the market swinging up and down like a yoyo. You have to be prepared for the onslaught of that and all our well-meaning friends and neighbors who offer their sage advice. I sat down to plan my day with a really, really, strong cup of coffee.
One thing I have always looked forward to in the morning is my three mile walk. It is my “me time” and I love the solitude of it.
Or let me put it this way, I used to love the solitude of an early morning walk. Living in a 55+ community in the early mornings there were normally not so many people out there. Now, no matter what time of the day, there they are, in all shapes and sizes cruising down the street trying their best to observe the six feet distancing rule, hundreds of them! Our formerly quiet streets are packed with people in face masks rushing by like bandits.
We have very strict rules here. You must walk facing traffic, no if’s ands or but’s about it. But do you think people care, oh no they don’t. Just yesterday coming toward me were three women obviously not obeying the six feet distancing rule. Could have reported them as gathering but I decided I would rise above that. But here they came, down the hill walking towards me the wrong way. They tried to stare me down but I stared back. They got closer and pretty soon we were all honing in on the six feet required distance. “You need to move” the tall one with the frizzy orange hair shouted out at me. She thought she was in charge, you know the street police. “I am walking the correct way, into traffic.” I said stopping in front of them, my arms crossed standing up a littler straighter. “But there are three of us” she said trying to tower over me with this idiotic reason why I should be the one to move. I sized her up and decided I could take her in a tussle. I am small but known to throw a quick and successful punch. “Nope, not moving” I stood my ground. Hands on hips we tried to bluff each other out. Finally with a sigh, she motioned her friends to go to the other side of the street. I nodded with a smile and kept walking; not happy she caved, just happy the interaction was over. Was I being silly about it, of course I was but no matter where we go now, this has caused interactions we never expected.
Left for the grocery store yesterday on the hunt for eggs, and it seems as if I am on the hunt most days for something. My husband sees absolutely no logic in this. “Why can’t you just wait until someone tells you where the eggs are?” He asked trying to interject logic into the conversation. I glared at him in complete disbelief. “Seriously do you think for one minute I would waste my time trolling grocery stores on a daily basis if I actually knew where and when things would be there?” He just shook his head and walked out of the room. I guess you can’t understand right now unless you are on the “trolling side”
I stopped by Fry’s grocery to see if they had eggs. I had a coupon from them for a free dozen expiring the next day. Going through the door, I tootled down the isles towards the refrigerated section bobbing and weaving among those congregating along the toilet paper isle. Was delighted to see there were one dozen eggs left on the shelf. All of a sudden there was a man right alongside me eyeing the carton of eggs. We looked at each other like we were ready to draw at the OK Corral. “You need those eggs?” he said to me in a deep, John Wayne voice; his blue eyes squinting at me as he edged closer to the refrigerator door. “Yep I am down to my last dozen.” I said nodding my hand almost on the refrigerator door as I tried to look desperate. “Being a gentlemen in my day we would just toss a coin but I know with this virus no one fusses with coins right now.” He offered. Oh was he wrong, I am the coin keeper that no one expects. Always have a bunch of quarters just in case. “Well it just so happens that I have a quarter right here.” I said pulling out my coin purse. “You call it heads or tails.” He called heads as I tossed the coin and tried to hide my smile as tails landed up softly in my hand. “Well you won fair and square so take your winnings.”: he said smiling as he walked away. As I clutched my eggs heading for the checkout, I thought how strange that we have come to this, flipping coins for a carton of eggs and elbowing people out of the way to score toilet paper.
As I was getting in the car a friend texted me this quote, “Quarantine has turned us all into dogs. We roam the house all day looking for food. We are told “no” if we get too close to strangers. And we get really excited about car rides!”
Is that right on point or what?
When I go to the grocery store I feel like I should have my six guns strapped to my side as I step through those doors. You just never know what might happen and you have to be prepared for anything. I went to seven grocery stores two weeks ago looking for toilet paper. We were down to our last three rolls and I was getting pretty worried. At each store I was either too late, or they were sold out for an indefinite period of time.
I got back in the car and started to drive home, totally defeated. Then I saw a Fry’s truck pull around the corner and I knew exactly where it was headed. I followed the truck closely as it pulled into the store’s parking lot and drove to the rear loading dock. I swung around the side parking out of the way, pulled down my ball cap, slid my sunglasses on, like I was on a stake out and waited. About twenty minutes later, out came a pallet of toilet paper. I put the car in gear and skidded around the corner to the parking lot, slammed it into park and vaulted out of the car into the store.
Not having to worry about toilet paper was the highlight of my week.
Remarkable what you can do at 77 when you put your mind to it! Almost collided with another women in the toilet paper isle eyeing the empty shelves and she gave me a hard look as I just stood there. “Do you know something about the toilet paper?” she said eyeing me up and down. I smiled and said “Just stick with me and we should be winners today.” With that here came the grocery guy with the pallet pulling it down the aisle. “OMG!” she screamed and lunged at the stack. The guy pulled her back with one hand warning her not to touch until he was ready. We both stood there poised like athletes waiting to take off at the sound of the buzzer. We could only take one package but it was a 36 rolls bunch and I was in heaven.
When my husband returned home that afternoon I proudly displayed my “catch” on the kitchen counter for him to see. We broke open a new bottle of wine to toast the day. I guess I was right at 7 a.m. when I said it was going to be a good day and we had the toilet paper to prove it!
Stay safe and well.
About the Author:
Becky is a Tucson-based, nationally known author and speaker traveling around the U.S. providing presentations that relate to her personal journey. She retired from a 20-year career as a partner in a woman-owned, commercial architectural and interior design firm. Leading business development and forming strategic relationships with Fortune 500 companies around the world. Her distinguished program of work has received numerous prestigious awards, such as a top Woman of Achievement award, a “Star Catchers” Award from St. Louis County Library, and the prestigious YWCA President’s Award honor. Becky has authored two books: ‘A Classic in Clowns Shoes’ and ‘Hiding in My Pajamas’.